Designing Interactive Systems II – SS13


Please register in the CAMPUS system for the DIS2 course to access the wiki, the lab computers and the L2P course room.
The lecture videos can be found on iTunes U. Follow this link.


Number SWS: V3+Ü2 (Aachen)
ECTS Credits: 6
The lecture will be held in English.


Lab Session Mon 14:15-15:45 2222

Course Aim:

After this class, students will know how the technology behind interactive systems works. They can analyze, design, and implement graphical and other user interfaces for existing and emerging technologies, both for the desktop and beyond, and including interfaces for multimedia contents. Group-based, project-centered assignments and lab activities convey hands-on experience building user interfaces and foster project management and teamwork skills.


This course builds on the foundations of Designing Interactive Systems I, and provides an understanding of how interactive multimedia systems are built from a computer science point of view. It covers the principles of event-based operating systems, window system architectures, input and output device technology for multiple modalities, as well as User Interface Management Systems and UI development toolkits and their relative merits. In the labs, students will develop a minimalistic window system themselves, but also learn to work with various real-life development environments, including window systems such as Java Swing and multimedia development environments, to develop user interfaces.

Activity Confirmation

Lecture, successful completion of weekly project-based group assignments, graded written midterm and final examinations.


Teaching Schedule

Course schedule is tentative and subject to change. Links to lecture notes and assignments will be posted as the semester progresses.

Required Reading
Recommended Reading
10.04.2013 Introduction, Taxonomy of Input Devices, Window Systems Architecture Input devices (Card) Usability Engineering (Nielsen)
17.04.2013 Graphics Event Library, Base Window System    
24.04.2013 Window Manager, User Interface Toolkit Layer    
08.05.2013 The X Window System: An Implementation of the Reference Window System The X Window System (Scheifler)  
15.05.2013 Early Window Systems (Smalltalk, Mac OS Classic, Windows pre-NT)    
22.05.2013 Cross Platform Toolkits (Java, Qt)    
29.05.2013 Mac OS X    
05.06.2013 Windows    
12.06.2013 Physical Computing and Prototyping (Arduino & Co.)    
19.06.2013 Mobile Window Systems (iOS, Android)    
26.06.2013 Web Toolkits (GWT, Cappucino)    
03.07.2013 Multimodal Interfaces and Toolkits    
10.07.2013 Final Project Presentation    
17.07.2013 Final Exam    


  • 03.06.2013: Midterm Exam (covers everything up to and including the Cross Platform Window System lecture)
  • 17.07.2013: Final Exam (covers the whole class)
  • 07.08.2013: Second Chance Exam


Assignments will be assigned weekly. You can find the assignments in the L2P course room.
They are to be completed in groups of 2 or 3. Assignments will be graded on the following scale:

  • 1.0 - exceptional work that clearly went above and beyond what was given on the exercise
  • 2.0 - exercise was completed satisfactorily as per the assignment specification
  • 3.0 - exercise was completed, but has some problems
  • 4.0 - incomplete exercise
  • 5.0 - little or no effort was put into the exercise

The assignments are designed to be completed in the RBI Mac Lab in 4U15. You can work there according to the reservation plan.

However, many of the tools we will be using are cross-platform -- you are welcome to complete the assignment on your platform of choice. However, it will be your responsibility to ensure your program(s) run on the machines in the lab. Programs that do not run correctly on the lab machines will be graded as incomplete. We will be able to provide technical support for the lab machines only. Please note that submissions with a written component that do not meet the basic standards of university-level English will not be graded.

Late Policy

Late assignments will not be accepted. Exceptions will be granted only for valid (i.e. medical) reasons.

Grading Policy

Your final grade will be based on the exams as well as your performance in the assignments.

  • Assignments: 40%
  • Midterm exam: 25%
  • Final exam: 35%

Fields of study

  • Informatik (D)/Hauptstudium/Praktische Informatik
  • Informatik (M.Sc.)/Angewandte Informatik
  • Informatik (GYM+GS,SII)/Hauptstudium/B. Praktische Informatik
  • Technik-Kommunikation (M.A.)/2. Hauptfach (Technisches Fach)/Grundlagen der Informatik/Hauptstudium/Spezialisierung Informatik
  • TK 2. Fach-Grundlagen der Informatik (M.Sc.)/Wahlpflicht Informatik/Angewandte Informatik
  • Media Informatics (M.Sc.)/Multimedia Technologie
  • Media Informatics (M.Sc.)/Multimedia Technologie/in Aachen
  • Software Systems Engineering (M.Sc.)/Applied Computer Science
  • Software Systems Engineering (M.Sc.)/Practical Computer Science
  • Software Systems Engineering (M.Sc.)/Areas of Specialization/Media Informatics

Previous offerings:

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